"This year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, my seventh graders at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta reacted differently to the reading of The Diary of Anne Frank. While it has always had an impact, this year the students seemed to search for a deeper understanding of what going into hiding, leaving friends at school and being fearful about the future meant to Anne Frank and her family. As my students followed Anne's story, they reflected on their own fears as they went into 'hiding' from the coronavirus pandemic.
Zoom provided the daily contact and support that was much needed, but my students wanted to reach out and connect with others who also were quarantined in Atlanta. Was this to give support or to be reassured? As it happened, it was both. My mother, Judy Gale, who teaches Middle School English at Westminster and taught at SCDS from 1984-95, was also finishing the school year teaching The Diary of Anne Frank. We joined our classes on a platform that would allow the open sharing of ideas, insights and fears that transcended Anne's story and their own.
Zoom and the pandemic offered an unusual opportunity for my students to reassure others and acknowledge how literature and Anne Frank's bravery could shine a light on their own world. New faces from across the city brought new understandings and new connections."